The Navy’s third littoral combat ship, Fort Worth, hit its halfway point in construction at its yard in Marinette, Wis., defense giant Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday.
All the ship’s major equipment, including its main and auxiliary engines, has been installed, and all of its modules are under construction, the announcement said. Lockheed officials have said that Fort Worth will benefit from workers’ experience in building its predecessor, Freedom, and make for a quicker, slightly more efficient process.
Although the Freedom was plagued by delays and construction problems — including a shipyard fire — Fort Worth is on schedule and set to be launched later this year, the announcement said. The ship is set to be delivered to the Navy in 2012.
“Lockheed Martin and its teammates have demonstrated strong performance in constructing LCS 3,” said Joe North, Lockheed’s LCS program manager, in the announcement. “We are on schedule and on cost under a fixed-price contract. This performance proves our ability to deliver a low-risk solution that will meet the Navy’s need for a class of affordable and survivable warships.”
Navy officials plan to select one of two competing LCS designs — the other being the General Dynamics-designed aluminum trimaran — for full production sometime this summer.